Some had wheels that flipped, but these needed to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made from tinplate, such as the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains hon3
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklina German firm which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equal toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be guaranteed by selling add-on accessories for years after the initial purchase. In addition to boxed sets containing a train and monitor, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery along with an operating train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, made from the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more common in the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mostly of plastic.
Prior to the 1950s, there was little distinction between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains by their adherents and are often accessorized with semi-scale model buildings by Plasticville or K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings produced by Marx in the 1950s into the 1970s). However, due to their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy shop than a O scale set.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run several remote control trains on one loop of course. In the last few years, many toy rail operators may operate a train with a TV camera in the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains hon3